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DOMA ruling looms large in court fight over striking gay jurors

Attorneys for both Abbott Labs and SmithKline Beecham filed new briefs Wednesday on whether gays and lesbians can be excluded from juries via peremptory challenge.

Abbott's team from Munger, Tolles & Olson argue, as expected, that the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act did not confer any special protections on gays and lesbians more generally. They even quote Judge Stephen Reinhardt, one of the court's influential liberal voices, to make their point.

SmithKline, meanwhile, says U.S. v. Windsor is a game changer for gay and lesbian rights, and that even U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says so. But in making their argument, SmithKline's attorneys at Irell & Manella insist that Congress had a rational basis for adopting DOMA — an argument LGBT advocacy groups would likely find troubling.

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